For many parents, getting your teenagers out of bed for school every morning is a real battle. This can cause tension in your relationship with your kids and can even make you late for work.
Teenagers need an average of nine hours of sleep per night according to the National Sleep Foundation. The problem is that kids of that age don’t naturally go to bed early, and are forced to wake up first thing in the morning.
Many middle and high schools start as early as 7 a.m., which is contradictory to the adolescent biological clock. Starting school too early has been linked to widespread sleep deprivation and even physical and psychological problems.
An obvious solution to this problem seems to be making sure your child gets to bed earlier in order to get their full nine hours of sleep. If they need to be at school at 7 a.m., they’ll likely need to wake up by 6 a.m. or earlier which means they’d need to be asleep by 9 p.m. the night before. Not so fast. The natural biological sleep patterns of teenagers make it difficult to get to sleep before 11 p.m. In fact, most adolescents get a second wind around 10 p.m.
Now you can see why so many teenagers are sleep deprived and why they don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. This may make the issue seem hopeless, but luckily there are still some things you can do to help make the morning routine as painless as possible.
- Set a reasonable bedtime – It may seem like 9 or 10 p.m. would be a good bed time, but your teen will probably toss and turn or be on their smartphone for a couple hours. A reasonable bedtime could be 10:30 or 11 p.m. and you can let them sleep in on the weekends.
- Unplug – Being in front of a screen keeps our brain going and won’t make it any easier to get to sleep. Set a rule that your teen must turn off their devices at least an hour or two before bedtime. They can read a book or listen to music to help them unwind.
- Get a new alarm clock – You can utilize technology to help your sleepy student wake up each day. There are alarm clocks with wheels that will roll around the room forcing them to get out of bed. You can also try an alarm that uses light to slowly wake them up more naturally.
- Set realistic expectations – Don’t expect your child to be bright and cheery first thing in the morning. Give them a nutritional breakfast and hopefully, they will start to perk up by the time they get to school.
If you are worried that your teenager may have sleep problems preventing them from getting a good night’s sleep, schedule an appointment with the Portland Pediatric Group. Give us a call at 585-342-5665 today.